Zion: An Amazing Story

Zion is the middle child of Lovetta Spencer.  Both his sister Nia, a college freshman, and his 13-year-old brother Joshua were born with severe hearing loss and both wear hearing aids. Zion’s hearing was fine though, and at 17 he was a budding high school basketball star when he suffered a sprained ankle that wouldn’t get better month after month. After 9 months of tests and biopsies, the family got the news they dreaded. Zion had bone cancer and would have to lose his lower leg. By a prophetic coincidence, the Spencer children were patients at Hearing Health Center and were with Lovetta at an appointment with their audiologist, Dr. Jaclyn Riel, when they heard Zion’s diagnosis.

Following the surgery, Zion suffered through massive doses of radiation and chemotherapy which permanently destroyed his hearing, as well.  He went home from Rush Hospital in a wheelchair, depressed, debilitated with pain, and unable to communicate with his friends and family.

Hearing aids, the only option for Zion’s hearing, were out of the question. The Spencers were wiped out financially.  Mounting medical bills and the crushing cost of treatment rendered them monetarily devastated.

That’s when a social worker at Rush Hospital told Lovetta about the hospital’s recent partnership with the Fisher Foundation for Hearing Health Care, and how we help children who lose their hearing from cancer treatment.  We could help Zion and he, too, would come under the compassionate, expert care of Dr. Riel at Hearing Health Center.

Lovetta started sobbing.  “I can’t believe this path is taking us back to her,” she cried.  “They’ve been there since the beginning when we found out about Zion’s diagnosis.  They were there with the kids and me when we learned about his leg.  This journey is coming full circle.”

Zion was worried about getting hearing aids.  He was a senior in high school with a missing leg and did not want anything else to make him stand out.

Dr. Gail Elden, a psychologist, Hearing Health Center patient, and supporter of the Fisher Foundation, donated two brand new custom-designed hearing aids to the Foundation. They are powerful, fit perfectly, and best of all, according to Zion, they are invisible.

Just after Thanksgiving we informed Dr. Elden about Zion, the recipient of her hearing aids.  She was so choked up she could barely speak.  Finally, she said, “Now that, is really something to be thankful for.”

Zion with his mom, Lovetta

Zion’s donor, Gail Elden

Dr. Jaclyn Riel with Zion, Nia, and Josh Spencer

Zion and Lovetta with Dr. Ronna Fisher and Dr. Jaclyn Riel

Fisher Foundation Helps Glenview Boy Return to School

Batman Returns! The Fisher Foundation and Batman present local boy, Brannon Moran, with new hearing aids

Click here to read the full article on the Glenview Patch, by Tim Moran (Patch Staff) – November 25, 2015

Over Brannon Moran’s short life, he had already fought a speech delay, ileitis, and an immune disorder. His parents paid nutritional consults, speech and occupational therapy. Then came the diagnosis of brain cancer with emergency brain surgery, a month of radiation, and six months of aggressive chemotherapy.

Brannon’s therapy was life-saving but it also created yet another obstacle: his chemotherapy had taken much of his hearing. He required hearing aids to go back to school and they weren’t covered by insurance. The family already faced massive medical bills and Brannon’s mother had quit her job to care for him. The parents decided to contact the Fisher Foundation For Hearing Health Care. “We’d heard the foundation had helped another child with a brain tumor receive hearing aids,” says Kristin “so we approached them.”

“When the Moran family reached out to us, we couldn’t say no,” says Dr. Ronna Fisher Au.D. “I don’t think anyone could say no to a family and a child like this one.” The audiologist directs the foundation and is the founder of the Hearing Health Center in Chicago, Naperville, Highland Park and Oak Brook.

Last month the Hearing Health Center staff fitted Brannon with his new hearing aids. They also visited Brannon’s school and talked to his classmates about how hearing aids work. Dr. Fisher says, “Kristin was worried Brannon might be picked on for wearing his hearing aids so we decided to be proactive.”

The Morans know there are no guarantees. But this Thanksgiving they couldn’t be more grateful: for Brannon’s life and the foundation that’s allowed him to resume it. “It’s enabled Brannon to go back to his world. I can’t put a price on that.”


Batman Delivers Hearing Aids

Click here to see the original article on the Daily Herald website from 9/2/15: Batman delivers hearing aids for 6-year-old

A superhero shared his super hearing with a 6-year-old in need of hearing aids at a Naperville hearing health center.

Riley Buckholz, 6, of Burlington, got new hearing aids recently from Batman, his favorite among all superheroes.

Riley’s partial hearing loss was caused by pineal blastoma, a childhood brain tumor about the size of a sunflower seed, said his mother, Adena Buckholz. Riley is receiving free treatment at the Hearing Health Center through support of the Fisher Foundation for Hearing Health Care. Phonak, LLC, donated his special hearing aids, which were decorated with the Batman logo to continue the super hearing theme.

The aids will help Riley hear teachers and peers more clearly so he can perform better in first grade.